The “It’s Not Very Space-Ninja-y” Argument That Makes No Sense

For years and years, I’ve seen the same argument pop up in Warframe. It doesn’t matter what the overall discussion is, but there’s a high chance this argument will pop up. Whether people are complaining about the art style or a new Warframe or a shiny new weapon or Ephemera, someone will use this argument. No matter what, you can’t escape. It’s always the same one.

Blue and Gold Rhino
A picture of a Space Ninja. Using a shotgun.

“This doesn’t fit inside our space ninja game”.

The current complaints are about a pair of wings. But the same has been said about everything from the current teased Revenant Deluxe skin, all the way to Octavia and her music. Heck, Nova’s Tennogen skins have caused similar controversy, as have weapons like the Kuva Bramma.

You know what else doesn’t fit in Warframe? Organic suits of sword-steel with magical powers. And, when you think about it, The Galatine Prime and Gram Prime.

The argument that something isn’t space-ninja-y enough doesn’t really make much sense.

I mean, calling Warframe a game about space ninjas does work if you are loosely trying to describe the game. You can cling to walls and leap vast distances while murdering things.

But the ninja aspect hasn’t always been there. After all, we’re not even piloting our own bodies, and half the enemies we fight are clones. Although melee weapons are the strongest, a huge amount of killing we do is with guns or super-powered abilities. Really, it’s just the wall jumping and parkour that make the ninja business stand out.

The game has changed a LOT over the years.

I think what some people really want isn’t a return to “space ninjas”, but a return to darker days. Literally. Warframe was originally a very gloomy game. You had to be a bit stealthier, stick to the shadows. The amount of power the Tenno had back then was far smaller and we had to rely on actual tactics a lot more. Warframe has definitely moved on from that. Although your initial few levels will be rough, you quickly move up into power fantasies. Originally, those levels of struggle lasted much longer into the Star Chart.

That being said, the power fantasy has always been there. We were never really space ninjas. Out of the original 8 Warframes, only Loki, Ash and maybe Excalibur at a push fulfilled that “true ninja” fantasy. The other 5 original frames consisted of Mag, Volt, Ember, Trinity and Rhino. The last of whom is probably the last thing you’d expect as a ninja. And back then? Guns were by far the way to go.

Our modern view of ninjas makes no sense either.

Picture the word “ninja” in your head. Everyone’s going to have a different image. The average idea is probably someone in black cloth, with their face covered, maybe holding a dagger or some nunchucks. But I’m certain that, for some people, they’re going to imagine a ninja turtle. Because Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a popular show with ninjas in it. The issue is that ninjas in history aren’t that well-known about and the idea about them is built around speculation, lore and stories. So even the common idea of what a ninja is can be flawed.

This just goes to show that everyone’s point of view is wildly different. People think about things in very different ways, so they form vastly different opinions. To make things worse, we can’t even agree that space is real.

It’s not about complaints.

I don’t want to say that complaining is bad. Not at all. I complain all the bloody time. However, when you do complain, it’s good to have some, well, good faith in your arguments. And the whole “it’s not very space-ninja-y” argument just doesn’t hold water, because it’s completely subjective.

Still, none of this is going to convince anyone. Because arguing with subjectivity is what we do best.


Medic, also known as Phovos (or occasionally Dr Retvik Von Scribblesalot), writes 50% of all the articles on the Daily SPUF since she doesn't have anything better to do. A dedicated Medic main in Team Fortress 2 and an avid speedster in Warframe, Phovos has the unique skill of writing 500 words about very little in a very short space of time.

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